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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies have agreed to increase crude oil supply starting from next month, as demand continues to rise to pre-pandemic levels.

OPEC+ agreed to reduce the daily production cut from 9.6 million barrels a day to 7.7 million barrels a day from August. The reduction in cuts was backed by both Saudi Arabia and Russia, including other participating oil ministers in the virtual conference.

This comes nearly 3 months of production cuts after oil fell to peak lows in April, last month OPEC production reached its lowest level in nearly 30 years since the gulf war. The decision to taper the previous reduction was expected earlier today as the body also talked on extended production cuts for countries like Nigeria, Iraq, and others for not meeting their production cuts for the months of May to June.

However, the risk remains on the strength of a demand recovery as the virus seems to be rebounding in the United States. Saudi Oil Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman revealed that the extra supply due to the already planned ease of production cuts will be consumed as demand rises. He added that economies globally are beginning to reopen, however, “this is a cautious and gradual process. The recovery signs are unmistakable.” 

OPEC expects the increase in supply to be offset by countries like Nigeria that did not meet full compliance on production cuts. Nigeria will join Iraq and Angola by engaging in a further 842,000 barrels a day of cuts through September. It is still unclear if Nigeria and the other defaulting members would be able to meet production cuts compliance as Nigeria has historically failed to meet production cuts numbers before.

Prince Abdulaziz, who has made it his mission to end the quota cheating that has dogged OPEC+ since its inception in 2016, said these compensation cuts are a crucial principle and the group must resist the temptation to relax.

OPEC+ is preparing to increase production in a period demand picks as Prince Abdulaziz has ensured that no country heats on its production cuts, adding that its essential the group cuts and increases production with one voice. The organization cut production to almost just 10% of global supply which enabled prices to rebound to over $40 after April’s lows.

 Russia says the tapering goes in hand with the current rising demands and expects output hikes to be consumed in markets of OPEC members as it local demands recovers. Saudi Arabia expects flat exports next month as demand rises locally. (Reuters)